“I now appreciate public transit.” -Conrad Hewitt, 2016
Trying to see peoples’ points of view isn’t something that comes natural to humans. As we’ve evolved, the softer skills in life have become much more important to our survival than the hard skills (fight or flight) as of the last hundred years. In business it’s even more rare. Empathy is a word that is not often discussed in the board room. Love, Kindness, generosity, all words never uttered in the corporate world. Until now.
There are many unforeseen benefits of seeing the world through another persons eyes here are three.
- It’ll cause you less stress. You don’t need to constantly be “right”. It’s counterintuitive when you think about it. Usually we go into a discussion to be heard or to get our way, but if you’re smart about it you’ll go in trying to learn and adapt your point of view based on the new knowledge you discover.
The next time someone tries to argue with you try and agree with what they’re saying and come up with a better solution all together.
The smartest people in an argument will change their mind, one of the hardest things to do, on a topic to see the issue through a different lens. This take willpower, empathy and some mental Jujitsu but it a very powerful tool.
- Your clients perspective is a great reflection of your business. Your brand is what your customers say about you. Every interaction is showing others a reason to like or dislike your organizations brand. Smart organizations are asking customers what they think, how could they do better, and what they love about their service or product.
You gain empathy when you show empathy to others, when you truly know how people feel about you.
- You’re not the most important person in the world. The sooner we all come to grips with this the better. It’s easy in a moment of lost baggage rage to freakout on the airport attendee, afterall, you needed your bag for tonight! Get over yourself.
Nothing can happen to you that is so bad that you have to ruin someone else’s day over it.
Remember, you aren’t the most important person in the world and that service worker that you’re about to reem out about an over charged phone bill could be having the worst day of their life. You never know when showing someone kindness could mean the wo rld to them.
The next time someone thinks you’re about to get really mad at them do the opposite. You’ll see it in their eyes, that priceless look of a genuine human ‘thank you’.
3 Ways to Help You Grow Your Empathy Muscle
- Read something you totally disagree with every week.
In a world where we find the information we want, when we want, from where we want there’s very little reason to think we’re learning from a wide range of credible sources. In reality we go back to the same websites that confirm our opinion over and over again. Be careful. It’s popular to share a common point of view on a topic, but to put down others for their point of view is wrong, specially done on a social network.We need to be able to disagree and still respect one another. In todays extremely media saturated world it can be difficult to do this. For more on this topic I’d suggest reading Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble. A book I personally don’t agree with but it IS a fascinating read!
- Once a week try something brand new.
From the side of a LuLu Lemon bag, doing something that scares you is great practice for your mind. It’s outside your comfort zone that really increases your learning.
- Talk to strangers.
If you’re from Canada you’re a part of the country that invented being nice. So you kinda have to do it. You have to say hello to people on the street, you have to hold open the door for people behind or in front of you and for crying out loud if you see someone that needs help don’t ask, just help.